Geoffrey Chaucer Online:
The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Daniel T. Kline | U of Alaska Anchorage | Chaucer Pedagogy | CV | What's New? Revision History

Web Resources by Tale 

Electronic Canterbury Tales - Kankedort.Net Index Page

Fragment I / Group A
The General Prologue
The Knight's Tale
The Miller's Prologue & Tale
The Reeve's Prologue & Tale
The Cook's Prologue & Tale

Fragment II / Group B1
The Man of Law's Introduction, Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment III / Group D
The Wife of Bath's Prologue & Tale
The Friar's Prologue & Tale
The Summoner's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IV / Group E
The Clerk's Prologue & Tale
The Merchant's Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue
Fragment V / Group F
The Squire's Introduction & Tale
The Franklin's Prologue & Tale

Fragment VI / Group C
The Physician's Tale
The Pardoner's Introduction, Prologue, & Tale

Fragment VII / Group B2
The Shipman's Tale
The Prioress's Prologue & Tale
The Prologue & Tale of Sir Thopas
The Tale of Melibee
The Monk's Prologue & Tale
The Nun's Priest's Prologue,
Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment VIII / Group G
The Second Nun's Prologue & Tale
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IX / Group H 
The Manciple's Prologue & Tale

Fragment X / Group I
The Parson's Prologue & Tale
The Retraction

The Electronic Canterbury Tales:

Troilus and Criseyde

Additional Chaucer Pages in The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Chaucer the Pilgrim-Narrator & Author

Chaucer's "Orphan" Pilgrims - Those without a Tale

The Frame Tale, Later Continuations,
& Chaucerian Apocrypha

Manuscripts, Printed Editions, & Electronic Texts

Electronic Chaucer Texts:
What's Available Online?

Chaucer in / and Popular Culture

Troilus and Criseyde

Documentation Primer

Chaucer Pedagogy Page

If you need just one book
 about the Canterbury Tales, this is it!

Helen Cooper's
 Oxford Guide to the Canterbury Tales

Looking for an Excellent, Inexpensive, One-Volume Original Language Edition of the Canterbury Tales

Jill Mann's new Penguin Edition

Related Schools, Programs, and Local & Regional Organizations

The Single Best Site for Online Term Paper & College Essay

See especially the Purdue OWL publications:

Related Medieval Studies Course and Web Pages

Societies & Organizations 

Websites for Calls for Papers

Call for Papers database from the University of Pennsylvania CFP listserv

Major Medieval Conferences Websites

International Congress on Medieval Studies (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI)

International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds

Schools, Programs, and Local & Regional Organizations

  Journal & Newsletter Homepages

An Academic Listserv (from Edwin Duncan, Towson U)


An Online Compendium and Companion 
to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The Prioress's Tale

1.  In Middle English

The Words of the Host to the Prioress, the Prioress's Prologue, and the Prioress's Tale at the UVa Electronic Text Center.

Read the Prioress's Prologue and Tale in the context of Fragment VII - Group B2.

2.  In Modern English Translation

Scott Gettman's edition of the Canterbury Tales (Electronic Literature Foundation) is accessible by individual tale & available in a variety of formats:  Middle English, Modern English, Facing Page, & Interpolated - Glossed (frames; from unknown base text).

  • Although unsuitable for formal research or college work, the ELF is the best online version for younger readers and those unfamiliar with Middle English. Easily navigable, and the Middle English glosses are very helpful.

The Litrix Reading Room translation of the Canterbury Tales features rhyming couplets.

Sinan Kökbugur's helpfully glossed hypertext Middle English rendition of the complete Canterbury Tales is available at the Librarius page. Use the Table of Contents in the left frame to click on a specific Tale, and difficult terms and phrases are glossed in the lower frame. 

3.  Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

See Julia Bolton Holloway's original research, for as she says, "Poor Second Nun! Who thus becomes a true saint! Chaucer and his wife were honoured by the city of Norwich. Norwich and Lincoln shared in the blood libel tale Chaucer has the Prioress tell. Benedictine Carrow Priory, just outside Norwich walls, had just such a Prioress, who in Julian's time even harboured a murderer. I did a study of it, visited the remains, just the terribly grand Tudor house left that a later Prioress had built for herself there, and this research is on the web. What could help too is the essay on Julian and Judaism, as well as the essay on the Prioress and the Second Nun."

The Prioress's Tale evidences one of the most pernicious aspects of medieval culture: Its pervasive antisemitism. So, the tale explicitly invokes the multifaceted relationship of Christianity and Judaism.  Part of Paul Halsall's extensive Internet Medieval Source Book, the Internet Jewish History Source Book houses an extensive collection of primary sources related to the Jewish Middle Ages. Some of the extensive listing of documents under Christian Anti-Semitism / Latin Christianity, relating specifically to England include (lightly edited): 

Continental and Papal pronouncements include:

Relations between Christians and Jews in England are illustrated by the following. (I've slightly edited and rearranged some of Halsall's links here for their relevance to England): 

Music figures prominently in the plot of the Prioress's Tale.  See Gary Rich's sublime Ars Subtilior. Music of the late Medieval period and the generous list of links there.

4.  Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

TEAMS Middle English Text Series (Russell Peck, URochester) houses a number of lesser known and hard to find medieval texts in helpful student editions. A generous and fascinating selection not to be missed! Each selection includes a scholarly introduction and full notes. Some of the selections related to the Prioress's Tale include:

"All TEAMS texts are under copyright, whether in hard copy or in electronic form. The on-line texts provided here are meant for individual use only. To download and make multiple copies for course use, you must have permission from the managing editor of Medieval Institute Publications."

Read an associated tale from the Life of William of Norwich (12th century), whose death was also blamed on the "blood libel" legend--the anti-Semitic belief that Jews kidnapped and killed Christian children for illicit purposes.

D. L. Ashliman provides a number of anti-Semitic folktales from around Europe, medieval and modern, on his Anti-Semitic Legends. A number of these are translated from 19th century German sources. You might also like to see the folktales of the Singing Bones, wherein the body parts of murder victims cry out or sing for justice.

Harvard Classics (vol. 40), English Poetry I, From Chaucer to Gray reproduces a number of traditional (and some) medieval ballads, including Hugh of Lincoln

The Oxford Book of Ballads, ed. Arthur Quiller-Couch (1910) includes dozens of traditional (and some medieval) ballads, including some that bear upon themes in the Prioress's Tale:

5.  Online Notes & Commentary

Discussion and links concerning the Prioress's Prologue and Tale on Larry D. Benson's superlative Geoffrey Chaucer Page (Harvard). Includes e-texts of scholarly essays, sources and ancillary texts, and capsule discussions of key issues.  Some of the items related to the Prioress's Tale include:

See a number of related Tales of the Virgin from the 12th and 13th Century (Paul Halsall, IMSB).

Read articles on figures related to the Prioress's Tale from the 1913 ed. of the Catholic Encyclopedia:

  • Holy Innocents / Childermass
  • Hugh of Lincoln
  • William of Norwich

6.  Online Books & Articles

The Google Library Project has made a number of venerable older (and out of copyright) works available as fully downloadable (and quite large) .pdf files. These include:

While these older works are vitally important for their historical value and their place in the development of the history of Chaucerian criticism, they should be supplemented with current textual and critical studies.

A number of titles from the U of California Press's E-Scholarship initiative deal with anti-Semitism and the legacy of Christian - Jewish (and Muslim) relations in the medieval and early modern period, especially in Spain.  See the following: 

The articles from Cultural Frictions: Medieval Cultural Studies in Post-Modern Contexts Conference Proceedings (27-28 October 1995) are online.  Though not about the Prioress's Tale, the following article deals with some of the same issues of anti-Semitism and violence:

Essays in Medieval Studies features full-text articles from the proceedings of the Illinois Medieval Association, online version edited by Allen J. Frantzen (Loyola - Chicago), including:

7.  Student Projects & Essays

Anniina Jokkinen's strikingly beautiful and highly useful Luminarium includes a substantial list of professional and student essays on a number of medieval authors, and individual pages on, Chaucer, the Gawain Poet, Langland, Margery Kempe, and Julian of Norwich. Jokkinen also compiles a number of resources by Canterbury Tale: The Prioress's Tale

8.  Online Bibliography

9.  Syllabi & Course Descriptions

10.  Images & Multimedia

The Massacre of the Innocents (from Matthew 2) is a subtext of the Prioress's Tale, and images of the Massacre (or Slaughter) of the Innocents are pervasive in medieval culture.  See the following:

11.  Language Helps & Audio Files

Sample audio files (.wav, .au, .aiff) from the Prioress's Tale, recorded at Campion College, University of Regina, 1989, and at the 7th International Congress of the New Chaucer Society, University of Kent at Canterbury, 1990, are available from the Chaucer Studio (Paul Thomas, Brigham Young).

12. Potpourri

13.  The Next Step

The Electronic Canterbury Tales
Scholar's Dozen

  1. The Online Chaucer Bibliography (Mark E. Allen, UT San Antonio) is from Studies in the Age of Chaucer and the New Chaucer Society. Another excellent project. Searchable by keyword and other Boolean terms.

  2. The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography, vols. 1-30  (Peter Beidler, Lehigh U. & Martha Kalnin, Baylor U). Originally published as the April 1997 issue of Chaucer Review and now put into html, this website provides a searchable list of all of the nearly 800 articles that have appeared in Chaucer Review, and, more important, a subject index to all of those articles. Excellent, and an invaluable resource.

  3. The Essential Chaucer (Mark E. Allen, UT San Antonio and John H. Fisher, UTennessee). This selective, annotated bibliography of Chaucer studies from 1900-1984 is divided into almost 90 topics, including themes, techniques, and individual works by Chaucer.  An invaluable starting point. See the Table of Contents

  4. The best single site devoted to the Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales, The Harvard Chaucer Page, is a tutorial in itself, brought to the WWW by Larry D. Benson, gen. ed. of The Riverside Chaucer. Check the Index for easy access to the wealth of primary and secondary material there.

  5. Paul Halsall's consummate Internet Medieval Sourcebook (Fordham U) offers a wealth of primary historical and cultural texts (from older print sources) and commentary on its numerous sub-pages. Comprehensive, and unsurpassed for medieval studies. See, for example, The 'Calamitous' Fourteenth Century.

  6. TEAMS Middle English Text Series (Russell Peck, URochester) houses a number of lesser known and hard to find medieval texts in helpful student editions. A generous and fascinating selection not to be missed! Each selection includes a scholarly introduction and full notes. 

  7. Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse has a large number of important primary texts, often older Early English Text Society volumes. The new editions also boast an upgraded search engine (Paul Schaffner & Perry Willett, UMichigan). Most important for Chaucer studies are the Chaucer Society editions of important early  manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales (edited by the indefatigable Furnivall).

  8. The Middle English Collection of the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center includes searchable editions of a number of important ME texts (generally from older editions without the critical apparatus), including:

  9. The Middle English Dictionary is online at the UMichigan site. You have to access the individual password month by month. Note: The MED seems now to be temporarily offline, or perhaps inaccessible for the moment to individual users.

  10. A real boon for scholars, the Canterbury Tales Project (Peter Robinson, U of Birmingham) has generously made available a series of articles and working papers describing the CTProject in detail.

  11. From Barbara Bordalejo (Canterbury Tales Project - DeMontfort U), a fully searchable online edition of Caxton's two printed editions of the Canterbury Tales: Caxton's Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies.

  12. The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies (Kathryn Talarico, gen. ed.) "is an academic site, written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and serious students. All articles have been judged by at least two peer reviewers. Authors are held to high standards of accuracy, currency, and relevance to the field of medieval studies."

  13. For a peer-reviewed, academically sound evaluation of online Chaucer resources, see the links and annotations at the Chaucer Metapage project (gen. eds. Joe Wittig, UNC & Edwin Duncan, Towson State U).

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How to Document

Print & Electronic Sources:
The Chaucer Pedagogy
Documentation Primer

Writing Resources (from


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